95% of submitters to the Waikato Regional Council’s draft Public Transport Plan support much stronger public transport links within and between local towns such as Whitianga, Tairua, Coromandel, Waihi, Thames and Whangamata. This adds even more weight to the strong case I have been making for government funding for new bus connections in Thames Coromandel and Hauraki.
Thames Coromandel and Hauraki areas are more advanced with planning for new bus services than any other rural district in the Waikato region in large part due to my advocacy. The strong public backing shown in this latest consultation adds even more weight to the already compelling case for funding support from the transport agency Waka Kotahi for new bus services.
Check out my commentary on More FM here
Many submitters believe the minimum aspiration of at least a daily return service to the nearest regional centre is not sufficient and requested more frequent connections as a baseline.
A number of submitters emphasised urgency in establishing a network of public transport services within and between smaller rural towns. Population ageing, disability and climate change were cited as a reason for urgency.
This positive response confirms the great support for better bus links that was shown in an earlier consultation by the regional council relating to public transport services specifically in Thames Coromandel and Hauraki Districts.
Adding further impetus to getting new bus services in provincial New Zealand, the Government has announced a new objective to support “on-demand” services.
Submitters also support strong climate action with 89% of respondents wanting public transport to become carbon negative by 2027. 83% also support the concept of council offsetting unavoidable emissions. There was a clear preference for direct offsetting methods based within the region (such as native planting) as opposed to methods like purchasing carbon credits nationally or globally.
The draft Public Transport Plan will be reviewed to take account of submissions and is expected to be formally approved by Waikato Regional Council in September.